LONDON – Serbia’s JAT Tehnika and the Israeli IAI are going to collaborate to work together in converting Boeing 767s to freighter versions.
Poland’s largest MRO provider, Avia Prime Group, will start collaborating with Israeli IAI. Together, both companies will start converting Boeing 767-200 and 767-300 from passenger versions to freighters.
The conversion will happen at the Serbian subsidiary, JAT Tehnika, under the FAA certificate.
The P2F conversion is only done by a select few MRO facilities in Europe. The entire process of the conversion will be done with the help of an IAI supplemental-type certificate at the JAT Tehnika base in Belgrade.
IAI has invested over €5 million to expand the capacity, staff training, and the purchase of new machinery.
Additionally, JAT has also hired over 100 aviation-experienced sheet metal workers who will join and strengthen the team as they are able to share their experiences with the team.
“We are proud that such an influential aviation organization, like Israel Aerospace Industries, saw and trusted in our potential. We have been preparing for a long time and passed rigorous checks by the Federal Aviation Administration and our Israeli partner.”
“This milestone marks the beginning of a new era in Avia Prime, where we strive to offer our partners a unique and comprehensive portfolio, all under one Avia Prime brand,” said Piotr Kaczor, Chief Executive Officer of the Avia Prime Group.
“Belgrade is becoming the largest aviation hub in the Balkans and Southeastern Europe, which means that its potential will only grow. Meanwhile, Avia Prime is all about growth, and our expansion will provide unique work experience, creating new job opportunities.”
“This conversion program is the first one in this part of Europe. From all of the “firsts” that we have done, this is surely the biggest one,” concludes Kaczor.
About JAT Tehnika
JAT Tehnika is a Serbian MRO service provider in the Balkans with roots in the original airline of the region, namely Aeroput, which was founded in 1927.
Aeroput was the flag carrier of Yugoslavia, continuing in 1947 as JAT Airways, and rebranded in 2013 after the fall of Yugoslavia as Air Serbia.
Unhappy with the situation they were working in, the technicians (who were at the time part of JAT Airways), decided to go on strike in 2005.
With the government bringing in technicians from North Africa, the workers felt neglected by the government. To end the dispute, the Serbian government (who was the owner of JAT Airways) decided to separate both entities in 2006.
In 2019, the Serbian government decided to sell off its 99.4% shares of the company’s ownership, with the Polish-Czech company Avia Prime having bought the shares for €10.3 million.
JAT Tehnika has been officially certified by the FAA to carry out services to airlines from the United States. JAT has also been awarded the EASA Part 145 certificate in 2005, which allows JAT to carry out maintenance operations on airplanes based in the EU.
Their certificate has, however, been suspended in 2021 pending the resolution of level 1 findings.
A level 1 finding means non-compliance with the EASA regulations, which could lead to uncontrolled non-compliances with applicable airworthiness requirements that could affect the safety of the aircraft.
Level 1 findings are considered the most serious and concern any significant non-compliance with EASA regulatory requirements in particular, where it is seen that such non-conformities could lower the safety standard and hazards and seriously the flight safety.
While this may seem like a major potential risk concerning the conversion of the Boeing 767, if the FAA has deemed them “safe” enough to be able to perform the conversions, then this risk might be low enough that the planes converted are going to be safe enough.
The FAA must have done their own personal inspections and must have found nothing wrong with the MRO service provider that they have received their converting certificate.